by Rita Stradling
In Domengrad, there are rules all must live by: Fear the Gods. Worship the Magicians. Forsake the Iconoclasts.
To Annabelle Klein, the rules laid down by the Magicians are the mere ramblings of stuffy old men. As far as she’s concerned, the historic Iconoclasts, heretics who nearly destroyed the Magicians so long ago, are nothing but myth. She has much more important matters to worry about.
Heiress to a manor mortgaged down to its candlesticks and betrothed to her loathsome cousin, sixteen-year-old Annabelle doubts the gods could forsake her more.
Then Annabelle is informed of her parents’ sudden and simultaneous deaths, and all of the pigment drips out of her skin and hair, leaving her colourless. Within moments, Annabelle is invisible and forgotten by all who know her.
Living like a wraith in her own home, Annabelle discovers that to regain her color she must solve the mystery behind her parents’ murders and her strange transformation.
Meanwhile, hundreds of the Magicians’ monks, with their all-black eyes and conjoined minds, have usurped control of Annabelle’s family manor. An Iconoclast is rumored to be about—a person who they claim goes unseen, unheard, and lost to memory, yet is the greatest threat to all of Domengrad. For the first time in a hundred years, the monks plan to unleash the dire wolves of old.
Their only target: Annabelle.
I received this copy in exchange for an honest review from Pikko’s House publishing. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you Pikko’s House!
I thought it was a standalone. Why did I think it was a standalone? I need answers! A resolution! I need more!
Going in, I will admit, I was unsure the novel would grip me because the premise was unusual. But while the prologue, I felt, was not necessary, I was hooked from the second Annabelle began to moult colour. I feared, for a while, that her character would become dependent on Dylan once he was introduced, but I was happy to be proved wrong. Her character was strong and fleshed out and realistic.
Surprisingly, I liked the changing in POVs. I usually don’t, but it worked well, and each character POV we had was distinct. The world building was also fascinating, and I have questions as to the magicians’ existence and their control over the population.
A few nitpicking things that bugged me – at one point in the novel, Annabelle ‘flicked a tear from her cheek’ thrice in two pages, which just made me picture her flinging her tear across the room. Honestly, have never seen anyone flick a tear when they are sad. When they are annoyed they are crying, sure. But this definitely brought me out of the story for a while.
I am also dreading the eventual dylan/Annabelle love story we seem to be headed towards. Initially, at Dylan’s introduction, I was looking forward to it, but since the introduction of Joseph, I feel like Joseph and Annabelle would be a better match because they go head to head and learn and work together. There is just something about them.
On the other hand, the friendship between Dylan and Jane growing into love would be wonderful to see. A platonic Dylan/Annabelle relationship would be nice because we rarely see platonic friendships between the female and male protagonists unless they are related in some way.
Speaking of Jane! If she is Eda’s daughter, and knows Fauve so well since childhood – why has Annabelle never mentioned her? I feel like we missed out on a huge opportunity for female friendship here, on both sides, with Jane feeling something missing in her life, and Annabelle missing her best (female) friend and confidante.
(Tony/Collin is a nice subplot I am surprisingly invested in, and for Tony’s sake, I hope it works out happily.)